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New Mexico's Classic Restaurants

From roadside diners to downtown drive-ins, ancestral haciendas to mom-and-pop cafés, New Mexico’s iconic restaurants tell tales. For generations, these hot spots have welcomed us like family, overflowed our plates with hospitality, and stirred our souls with cherished recipes cooked from the heart.

Restaurants / May. 24, 2023

Feel the Love at Hi-D-Ho

Mika Myers, owner of Alamogordo’s Hi-D-Ho Drive-In, understands what it means to be…

Only in New Mexico Delights

What’s better than a burger from a two-time winner of the New Mexico State Fair’s Green…

ONLY IN NEW MEXICO DELIGHTS

Customers have been coming to The Shed, in Santa Fe, for extra-piquant chile since 1953…

El Patio de Albuquerque serves its sopaipillas with just about everything on the menu…

New Mexico Magazine's
Classic Eats Directory

  • Duran Pharmacy's red chile, beef tacos, and carne adovada plate with a fried egg on top.

    DURAN CENTRAL PHARMACY
    Albuquerque

    Try this: Duran’s famous flour tortillas are made behind the lunch counter while you watch. “We’ve always made the tortillas to order, by hand,” says Mona Ghattas, a pharmacist and owner of Duran Central Pharmacy. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1942. 
    Region: Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    duransrx.com 

     

    El Bruno Restaurant

    EL BRUNO’S RESTAURANT Y CANTINA
    Cuba

    Try this: The Combination Picante ($16.99), with an enchilada, tamale, taco, beans, and rice, lets you try a variety of El Bruno’s delicious fare. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1975. 
    Region: Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    elbrunonm.com 

    Add a sweet roll to your order at Frontier Restaurant.

    FRONTIER RESTAURANT
    Albuquerque

    Try this: Based on the Texas-favorite Manske rolls, the Frontier sweet rolls ($2.75) are baked fresh daily. “It’s still one of our signature items,” says Dorothy Rainosek, who owns the Frontier with her husband, Larry. —Julian Dossett

    Founded: 1971. 
    Region: Central. 
    Price: $. 
    frontierrestaurant.com 

    The ambience, care for quality, and Carne Adovada Turnover all make Mary & Tito’s special.

    MARY & TITO’S
    Albuquerque

    Try this: The Carne Adovada Turnover with green chile ($8.50) draws from Tito’s love of Italian food. “It’s like a stuffed sopaipilla but on steroids,” says Antoinette, the original owner's daughter. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1963. 
    Region: Central. 
    Price: $. 
    maryandtitoscafeabq.com 

    Patrons crave Pete’s Shrimp Taco Plate right along with the Dinner Combination #2.

    PETE’S CAFE
    Belén

    Try this: “Our customers always mention how much they love our chile rellenos ($11.50),” says owner's daughter Marie Torres. Made with a bread-crumb batter instead of the traditional egg batter, they’re a crispy delight with every bite. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1949. 
    Region: 
    Central. 
    Price: 
    $. 
    petescafenewmexico.com 

  • Try the crispy buffalo hot wings from Bibo Bar and Grille.

    BIBO BAR & GRILLE
    Bibo

    Try this: To eat like a local, go straight for the hot wings. “They’re fried crispy with Buffalo sauce,” says Maria Kanesta, the bar and restaurant manager. “They speak for themselves.” —Karen Fischer

    Founded: 2007. 
    Region: Northwest. 
    Price: $. 
    facebook.com/bibobar 

    Try the fried zucchini from Earl's in Gallup.

    EARL’S FAMILY RESTAURANT
    Gallup

    Try this: Fried zucchini. The serving is so generous, you may not even need an entree. —Karen Fischer

    Founded: 1947. 
    Region: 
    Northwest. 
    Price:
     $$. 
    nmmag.us/earls 

    Jerry's burger has been made the same since the 1980s.

    JERRY’S CAFE
    Gallup

    Try this: Jerry’s Burger ($7.75). “It’s been made the same since my dad,” says owner Archie Baca. “The only thing I did was go to a bigger patty.” —Karen Fischer

    Founded: 1976. 
    Region: Northwest. 
    Price: $$. 
    nmmag.us/jerryscafe 

     

  • Horses and riders in front of the Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos, NM

    BUCKHORN SALOON AND OPERA HOUSE
    Pinos Altos

    Try this: The green chile stew ($15). “You can’t go wrong with that,” says Amy Wright, sous chef at the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House. —Jennifer C. Olson

    Founded: 1865. 
    Region: Southwest. 
    Price: $$$$. 
    buckhornsaloonandoperahouse.com 

    Double Eagle Restaurant's 14 oz. ribeye with buttermilk mashed potatoes.

    DOUBLE EAGLE
    Mesilla

    Try this: Center-cut grande filet mignon ($46). “People rave over our filet mignon,” owner C.W. “Buddy” Ritter says. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1973. 
    Region: Southwest. 
    Price: $$$$. 
    doubleeagleonline.com 

    A margarita pairs with every meal at La Posta

    LA POSTA DE MESILLA
    Mesilla

    Try this: The cucumber-jalapeño margarita ($10.95), made with New Mexico honey and rimmed with crushed local pecans.  —Jennifer C. Olson

    Founded: 1939. 
    Region: Southwest. 
    Price: 
    $$. 
    lapostademesilla.com 

    The green chile cheeseburger isn’t the only draw at the Original Owl Bar & Café—the ambience is just as good.

    THE ORIGINAL OWL BAR & CAFÉ
    San Antonio

    Try this: Duh! You’re here for the green chile cheeseburger ($6.50), made from hand-ground all-beef patties topped with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and a “secret” green chile sauce. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1945. 
    Region: Southwest. 
    Price: $$. 
    sanantonioowl.com 

  • The red chile at Charlie’s Bakery & Cafe just begs for its famous fluffy tortillas.

    CHARLIE’S BAKERY & CAFE
    Las Vegas

    Try this: “The secret to everything is the tortillas,” says owner Charlie Sandoval, who based the thick, fluffy flour disks on his mother’s recipe. Try a hot buttered one with whatever you order, then take a dozen ($6.99) home for later. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1950. 
    Region: Northeast. 
    Price: $$. 
    charliesbakeryandcafe.com 

    At Del’s Restaurant, you can count on the neon sign and longtime server Renee Gutierrez.

    DEL’S RESTAURANT
    Tucumcari

    Try this: Long-time server Renee Gutierrez’s favorite: beef chimichangas ($15.99). —Gregory R.C. Hasman

    Founded: 1956. 
    Region: 
    Northeast. 
    Price: 
    $$. 
    facebook.com/delsrestaurant 

    Pizza de Santa Rosa includes green chile, mushroom, and pepperoni.

    JOSEPH’S BAR & GRILL
    Santa Rosa

    Try this: The calzone ($9.99) comes with stuffings ranging from pepperoni and sausage to green chile and jalapeño. —Gregory R.C. Hasman

    Founded: 1956. 
    Region: Northeast. 
    Price: $$. josephsbarandgrill.com 

    Chicken Salad Sandwich

    PAPPAS’ SWEET SHOP
    Ratón

    Try this: The chicken salad sandwich. On the menu since the beginning, it is still made with the same bread recipe. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1923. 
    Region: 
    Northeast. 
    Price: $. 
    nmmag.us/pappas 

     

  • Green Chile Cheeseburger from Bang Bite

    EL FAROLITO
    El Rito

    Try this: “Our Farolito Burger [$5.50, with chile, cheese, and bacon] is part of the local lexicon,” Chef Dominic says. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1983. 
    Region: North Central. 
    Price: $. 
    facebook.com/MarisolTrujilloPerry 

    Carne adovada with egg breakfast burrito from Horseman's Haven.

    HORSEMAN’S HAVEN
    Santa Fe

    Try this: Huevos rancheros ($12.95) are served smothered in chile atop a blue corn tortilla with a warm flour tortilla. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1960. 
    Region: 
    North Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    facebook.com/horsemans.haven 

    Newer items such as the lamb burrito have become La Cocina favorites.

    LA COCINA
    Española

    Try this: Jessie’s Combination ($15) showcases a beef enchilada, cheese enchilada, pork tamale, beans, and posole, smothered in red and/or green chile and cheese. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1970. 
    Region: North Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    lacocinanewmexico.com 

    Smothered plate from Michael's Kitchen in Taos.

    MICHAEL’S KITCHEN
    Taos

    Try this: Any dish with chile. “It’s northern New Mexico chile,” says owner Derek Apodaca. —Lynn Cline

    Founded: 1974. 
    Region: 
    North Central. 
    Price: 
    $$. 
    michaelskitchen.com 

    Rancho de Chimayo was the winner of the James Beard America’s Classics Award in 2016.

    RANCHO DE CHIMAYÓ
    Chimayó

    Try this: A plate of chile rellenos ($17.95), with plump calabacitas and savory Spanish rice. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1965. 
    Region: North Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    ranchodechimayo.com 

    Christmas Chile at Tia Sophia's in Santa Fe.

    TIA SOPHIA’S
    Santa Fe

    Try this: Maryol likes the simplicity of Sophia’s Sandwich ($12), ham and melted cheddar served open face on a tortilla. —Molly Boyle

    Founded: 1975. 
    Region: North Central. 
    Price: $$. 
    facebook.com/tiasophias 

  • Day or night, Foxy Drive-In draws crowds for its taquitas, burgers, and frozen treats.

    FOXY DRIVE-IN
    Clovis

    Try this: Taquitas (99 cents) are made by hand daily and served with in-house red sauce. “We’ve shipped them to Arkansas, Dallas—just all over the place,” says owner Chris Bryant, whose father, A.C., founded the Clovis spot in the 1950s. 

    Founded: 1956. 
    Region: Southeast. 
    Price: $$. 
    facebook.com/foxydriveinclovis

    The steak, fried okra, and loaded baked potato make for a hearty meal at Pioneer Steak House.

    PIONEER STEAK HOUSE
    Lovington

    Try this: Terrie’s favorite is the perfectly cooked sirloin ($9.45 for six ounces and $10.75 for eight ounces) with a baked potato. —Gregory R.C. Hasman

    Founded: 1968. 
    Region: Southeast. 
    Price: $$. 
    nmmag.us/pioneersteakhouse 

    In 1987, Taco Box opened a second location in Portales.

    TACO BOX
    Clovis

    Try this: Frijole Burrito ($6.79 meal). “We make our beans fresh every day, and we make our own spices,” says Thomas Martin, who runs Taco Box. —Julian Dossett

    Founded: 1969. 
    Region: Southeast. 
    Price: $. 
    tacobox.com